Monday, August 15, 2011

The Bolton Fair Pie Project

Every year for the past 9 years I have entered exhibits in the Bolton Fair.  Submitting things in the Fair with the hope that maybe I would get a ribbon has been a dream since childhood.  Of course there was no way my parents were going to drive me around to do that sort of nonsense when I was little.  So I feel like I have been living that dream since I moved to New England.

This year I only entered 2 pies.  A traditional New England Apple Pie and a Strawberry-Rhubarb pie.  I am going to post both of those recipes on my blog today.  I found the quest for the perfect apple pie to be much harder than I ever thought it would be.  I do think I finally have a simple straightforward recipe that works.  I think the judge this time thought so too.  I got a first place ribbon for both pies and a Best of Show for the apple pie.  The judge did suggest that next time I add a Granny Smith apple to the mix, which I will gladly do.  The rhubarb pie is so old fashioned I decided to write my Mixing Bowl column based on that recipe.

Traditional Apple Pie
Makes one double crust 9 inch pie
2 Cups flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup of Crisco
2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/3 cup of iced water
10 crisp, tart apples (I used 5 Macouns and 5 Braeburns)
½ - ¾ cup white sugar (depending on tartness of apples)
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon boiled apple cider
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Make the pastry:
  1. Mix the flour and salt together with a fork in a large bowl.
  2. Cut the shortening and butter into the flour with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas.
  3. Slowly add the ice water a tablespoon at a time until the dough is moist and can be gathered together into a ball.
  4. Divide the dough in two and press each half into a disc shape.
  5. Wrap dough discs in plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or longer.
  6. Roll the bottom crust out first and line a 9 inch pie pan.  Refrigerate while you roll out the second disc, use this for the top crust. 

Pie filling:
  1. Pare core and slice the apples.
  2. Combine the sliced apples in a large bowl with the sugars, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour.
  3. Fill the prepared pie crust with the apple mixture making sure the center is mounded a little higher.
  4. Dot the surface with 1 tablespoon of butter.
  5. Place rolled upper crust on top, flute edges and cut vent holes.
  6. Bake at 425 degrees for the first 15 minutes then reduce oven heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 45 minutes until crust is brown and apples are tender when tested with a skewer.  If the pie is browning too much or too quickly, cover with a sheet of aluminum foil.

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